El Sueño (The Dream)
The setting for this painting is the Mediterranean. It is a nocturnal scene and was inspired by places I have visited and know in the north along the coast, especially near the border where Spain meets France. In my art as in my life, I try to simplify things as much as possible. Through painting, I hope to show what I perceive as an underlying harmony, order, and energy, which flows through all things, a sign of Nature’s providence. When we stop and become quiet and really pay attention to what is happening around us, we encounter poetry in the ordinary, the sacred of the everyday. Then we may transcend the stresses, disappointments and difficulties of life and experience the truly magical aspect of the ordinary. Here is where we find complete peace and serenity behind the veil of the physical world. Here all things begin to blossom and transform into their true nature and we may begin to perceive that contained within everything, there is something unchanging, permanent, eternal, numinous. This something , whatever ‘IT” is, is difficult to put into words. It is ineffable. As a result of this encounter we are rejuvenated in body, mind and spirit.
A Nocturnal Voyage Downward and Inward
When we dream, we descend down a winding path into the watery depths of the unconscious, into our innermost selves. Along the way, we encounter various entities, some human, some familiar, some seemingly unfamiliar. Some are still living, some are not. They are young and old, female, male. We also find non-humans, animals, extraordinary creatures, sometimes terrifying, some are monsters. But these are all aspects of ourselves and are sent to us in order to help us and guide us in our lives.Sometimes they are parts of ourselves which have been abandoned or ignored, perhaps long ago, even before we were born. Sometimes these personifications come to us sibylline, oracular, bearing treasures in the form of prophesies and council in symbols and actions not so easy to decipher. But luckily we don’t always have to. We only need to listen and be open to the possibility that they have something to tell us. All this so that we may become more whole and complete and live better. So that we may love more and better, which is why we are here in the end. As Orpheus journeyed into the underworld in an attempt to rescue and bring back to the light of the living his beloved Eurydice, we do so in order to save ourselves. Each night we embark upon a fantastic pilgrim’s journey to the inner holy land of our souls .
“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
As Things Are
The way I paint is a little like what happens when we dream, or day dream. A painting is a dream embodied in a physical object, pigment on canvas. I don’t know and don’t want to know too much in advance who or what or where something will appear in a painting. It is a voyage in which, like all voyages we take, the journey is just as or more important than the destination. When we go inward, whether through dreams, or a spiritual practice, or through making art of some form, writing in a journal, or with the aid of a healer or therapist or spiritual guide, something happens. We begin to awaken from an emotional somnambulance in the places where we have been wounded or sometimes even traumatized. We become softer where we were rigid. We become more compassionate where we were judgemental and uncaring. We can let go where once we held on. We can accept things as things are. This has been my experience through my own self-work and in my art. The two are inseparable. It is then that life comes to resemble a grand painting, a masterpiece, in which everything seems to be just right and good, melodious, peaceful, noble, perfect in its seeming imperfections. Because believe it or not it really is. And so are you.
Thank you for your kind attention,
Thank you for your kind attention, Robert B. Froh